Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dirt under my nails

Looking down at my fingernails, I notice that I have bits of dirt under them! That is right, I've been handling the core today. The three meters that came in the other day have been split, scanned, measured and then shown to the science team. This month, I'm working with the curatorial team. After the scientists have marked their sample areas, we come in, record them, and then take the samples out of the core.

After watching how delicately the core has been handled up to this point, it was a bit of a shock to the system to be gouging out bits or even popping out whole sections to cut off pieces with a saw! These upper sections include some soft sediments and some crumbly volcanics which don't scoop or cut well. Keep in mind that this is the "working" half, the curatorial half doesn't get touched at all, and we are only sampling one half of the working half, keeping 1/4 of the whole untouched for sampling in the next several years.

The core is much more varied over short sections than I expected! It is quite fascinating to look at all the different layers.

What kinds of features do you see in this image of the core?


Ginny said...

What are all the diagonal arc striations? Is it from the saw to cut the core in half? How many years are represented by this sample?

Joanna Hubbard said...

Yes, the circular lines are artifacts from the process of splitting the core on circular saw. And I have no idea how many years are represented here - very tough to estimate - aging to within spans of geologic time will be completed once we are off the ice.